Richard A. Warren

Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

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Publications (3)8.12 Total impact

  • Michael Ligorio, Laurent Descarries, Richard A. Warren
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    ABSTRACT: Cholinergic interneurons are the only known source of acetylcholine in the rat nucleus accumbens (nAcb); yet there is little anatomical data about their mode of innervation and the origin of their excitatory drive. We characterized the cholinergic and thalamic innervations of nAcb with choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) immunocytochemistry and anterograde transport of Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin (PHA-L) from the midline/intralaminar/paraventricular thalamic nuclei. The use of a monoclonal ChAT antiserum against whole rat ChAT protein allowed for an optimal visualization of the small dendritic branches and fine varicose axons of cholinergic interneurons. PHA-L-labeled thalamic afferents were heterogeneously distributed throughout the core and shell regions of nAcb, overlapping regionally with cholinergic somata and dendrites. At the ultrastructural level, several hundred single-section profiles of PHA-L and ChAT-labeled axon terminals were analyzed for morphology, synaptic frequency, and the nature of their synaptic targets. The cholinergic profiles were small and apposed to various neuronal elements, but rarely exhibited a synaptic membrane specialization (5% in single ultrathin sections). Stereological extrapolation indicated that less than 15% of these cholinergic varicosities were synaptic. The PHA-L-labeled profiles were comparatively large and often synaptic (37% in single ultrathin sections), making asymmetrical contacts primarily with dendritic spines (>90%). Stereological extrapolation indicated that all PHA-L-labeled terminals were synaptic. In double-labeled material, some PHA-L-labeled terminals were directly apposed to ChAT-labeled somata or dendrites, but synapses were never seen between the two types of elements. These observations demonstrate that the cholinergic innervation of rat nAcb is largely asynaptic. They confirm that the afferents from midline/intralaminar/paraventricular thalamic nuclei to rat nAcb synapse mostly on dendritic spines, presumably of medium spiny neurons, and suggest that the excitatory drive of nAcb cholinergic interneurons from thalamus is indirect, either via substance P release from recurrent collaterals of medium spiny neurons and/or by extrasynaptic diffusion of glutamate.
    Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 01/2009; · 2.48 Impact Factor
  • L Zhang, R A Warren
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    ABSTRACT: We have recorded excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) evoked by local electrical stimulation in 243 nucleus accumbens (nAcb) neurons in vitro during postnatal development from the day of birth (postnatal day 0; P0) to P27 and in young adults rats (P59-P71). An EPSC sensitive to glutamatergic antagonists was found in all neurons. In the majority of cases (189/243), the EPSC had two distinct components: an early one sensitive to 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) and a late one that was sensitive to D-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV) showing that early and late components of the EPSC were mediated by AMPA/kainate (KA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors respectively. During the first four postnatal days, the amplitudes of both the AMPA/KA and NMDA components of the EPSC were relatively small and then began to increase until the end of the second postnatal week. Whereas the amplitude of the early component appeared to stabilize from that point on, the late component began to decrease and became virtually undetectable in preparations from animals older than 3 weeks unless the AMPA/KA response was blocked with CNQX. In addition, the ratio between the amplitude of the NMDA and AMPA/KA receptor-mediated components of the EPSC followed a developmental pattern parallel to that of the NMDA receptor component showing an increase during the first two postnatal weeks followed by a decrease. Together, these results show that, during postnatal development, there is a period when NMDA receptor-mediated EPSC are preeminent and that time frame might represent a period during which the development of the nAcb might be sensitive to environmental manipulation.
    Neuroscience 08/2008; 154(4):1440-9. · 3.12 Impact Factor
  • Shou-Wei Yang, Pierre-Paul Rompré, Richard A Warren
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    ABSTRACT: Fischer 344 (F344) and Lewis (LEW) rats are inbred strains that are differentially sensitive to drugs of abuse and that respond differently to the endogenous neuropeptide neurotensin (NT). To understand the mechanisms involved we used whole cell patch clamp recording technique to study the effects of an equimolar concentration of NT and its active analog, d-Tyr[11]neurotensin (d-NT), on the amplitude and frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs) in nucleus accumbens medium spiny (MS) neurons in brain slices. NT and d-NT produced an increase in the amplitude but not in the frequency of sEPSCs in all neurons tested in both F344 and LEW rats. In LEW rats, NT and d-NT produced an increase in sEPSCs of the same magnitude. In contrast, in F344 rats, d-NT produced an increase in sEPSCs that was 2.4 times larger than that of NT. Moreover, the effect of d-NT in F344 rats was also significantly larger than that measured in LEW rats whereas NT produced an effect of the same magnitude in both strains. These results demonstrate that MS neurons in F344 rats are more responsive to the activation of NT receptors sensitive to d-NT than LEW animals. This finding parallels previous behavioral data and provides additional evidence that the NT circuitry differs in the two strains, in a brain region known to play a key role in the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse.
    Peptides 06/2008; 29(9):1616-9. · 2.52 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

19 Citations
8.12 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2009
    • Université de Montréal
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
    • Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada